Sunday, July 09, 2017

A proper checklist of Rhode Island experiences for new arrivals

So for Monica and Kevin, these are things it will behoove you to see, do, visit, eat, etc. while you live in Rhode Island. There's a lot in Providence, naturally, but there's far more Rhode Island outside of Providence. Here's 20 things I came up with:

  1. Go to the beach. And try to go to a town beach instead of a state beach. Yeah, you'll have to get up early, and pay more to park than you would at a state beach. Trust me, it's worth it. I personally recommend Blue Shutters beach in Charlestown, South Shore beach in Little Compton or ...
  2. Go to Block Island. You would be astounded at how many lifelong Rhode Islanders have never gone to Block Island. Try to go during a weekday, and again, getting early is a good bet for the best time and beating the crowds.
  3. Have a Del's frozen lemonade. Look for the sign of the lemon! ... or at any the hundreds of mobile carts, trucks, or actual store locations (which are all seasonal - get it while it's hot out). Del's was almost the state drink but lost out to ...
  4. ... coffee milk. I like Autocrat's coffee syrup, but any of them will do, and almost every real food market in RI will have it in stock 24x7. You can also buy a single in most convenience stores here, and most diners have it on the menu as well. So good, even vegans should be drinking it.
  5. Hike around the lake at Lincoln Woods. It's 2.5 miles from start to finish, and goes through some very attractive woods and lakeside beachfront.
  6. America's most prestigious and expensive art school has a pretty good museum.
  7. The Ivy League's safety school for kids who can't get into Yale or Harvard has a pretty good museum too.
  8. Get out to the east bay  - not just Newport, but Bristol, Tiverton and Little Compton especially.
  9. While in Little Compton, see the monument to the chicken that made Rhode Island famous.
  10. Hike out to the lighthouse at Beavertail state park in Jamestown - spectacular ocean views await that will remind you guys of home.
  11. Drive through the heart of the Narragansett Indian reservation on route 2.
  12. Overlook Providence with Roger Williams
  13. Go to "the Woon" to see the Museum of Work and Culture. While it can feel like you're being bludgeoned with Marxist economics at times, it's genuinely interesting enough to explore the history of the massive immigration of Quebeckers to New England.
  14. Pick apples in Scituate come fall. I like Barden's orchard, but really, there are dozens of places to go get 'em. And enjoy a cider donut (or six) while you're out getting your fruit on.
  15. See if you can get a selfie with Mr. Potato Head
  16. Visit the tallest tree in the state!
  17. Go see the July 4th fireworks at India Point Park in Providence ... next year, of course.
  18. Go celebrate Columbus Day on Atwells Ave, as a nostalgia trip of what Federal Hill was like when it was still a real Little Italy (that is, before all the Italians moved to Johnston and Cranston). Do not boycott this for PC reasons! You will thank me later.
  19. Stuff your faces in Providence. My recommendations are ...
    1. For Mexican, El Rancho Grande in Silver Lake
    2. For pizza, Caserta's (thick and greasy) or Timmy's grilled pizza (which is a thing, native to RI)
    3. For cheap Chinese (and I mean cheap, but still good!): Gourmet House on Hope St.
    4. For Middle Eastern, East Side Pockets on Thayer Street, or Oasis in the Armory district(ish)
    5. For Japanese, Ebisu in Reservoir. It's almost in Cranston, but it's not, so there!
    6. For breakfast or brunch ... c'mon, we know the answer to that. Not just the best in Providence, or Rhode Island, but all New England.
    7. For stuff you won't eat, but should if you ever wake up one day and want to eat meat, the best friend a carnivore can have, Los Andes on Chalkstone Avenue
    8. Seems like you already discovered pizza strips ...
  20. Go outside of Providence and stuff your face!
    1. For ice cream, Gray's in Tiverton. It's pretty much the best ever. If the Eskimo King were just an inch over the Swansea/Warren line, they would get a nod, but they're in Massachusetts, not Rhode Island, so ...
    2. For a sprawling menu in a place that looks like a wood paneled playroom nightmare from the 1970's, but doesn't suck ... Jack's Family Restaurant in Warren.
    3. The best frigging donuts ever. No, not that stupid hipster place in Providence. Allie's Donuts in North Kingstown is the place to be. I've frequently made the long trip (well, by RI standards) because of a donut jones that only this place can scratch.
    4. Pick up a case of Yacht Club soda at their factory store in North Providence. It's crack in a bottle.
    5. For pizza and Italian, go see my homies Frank and John from Italy in East Greenwich.

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